PHILADELPHIA – With a big run early in the first half, Rutgers established a lead that would prove too great for Temple women's basketball to overcome, and the Scarlet Knights came away with an eventual 66-50 win on Wednesday night in McGonigle Hall. Rutgers (2-1) was led by Erica Wheeler with 14 points and Betnijah Laney with 13, while Tyonna Williams
scored a career-high 15 points for Temple (3-2).
Williams scored 13 of her game and career-high 15 points in the second half, leading a push that had the Owls threatening but ultimately not making enough of a dent in the Scarlet Knights' lead. Rateska Brown
came off the bench to score 12 points for Temple, and Sally Kabengano
led all players with 10 rebounds.
“I thought this was a game that we definitely could have won,” said Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza
. “We talked about the keys to the game and one of the most important things was making sure we take care of the ball, and we obviously didn't do that. We gave up 29 points off of our turnovers, and when you play basketball like that, it's almost impossible to win, especially against a team like Rutgers.”
After a promising beginning that saw Temple take a 5-2 lead, the rest of the first half was a struggle for the Owls. Turnovers completely disrupted any offensive rhythm, as Temple committed 14 of them in the first half which led to 20 points for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers used a 13-0 run over a six-minute span to take a 15-5 lead, and after briefly cutting the margin to eight, the Owls then trailed by double-digits the rest of the way. Two long jumpers from Brown near the three-minute mark helped limit the damage, but Rutgers took a 31-14 lead into the break.
The Scarlet Knights, led by Laney with nine first-half points, shot 42 percent from the field in the first half compared to Temple's 20 percent.
The Owls improved their shooting in the second half, making more shots in the first 10 minutes than they had made in the first half altogether. Rutgers stayed hot early however, increasing its lead to as many as 24, 45-21 six minutes into the half.
Williams scored five points on a 7-0 run to get some momentum going for the Owls near the midway point. It would turn into a 13-4 run that cut the margin to 15, but Temple was unable to narrow the margin any further until the final minute.
Williams, Meghan Roxas
and Brown each hit treys over a one and half minute stretch in the final three minutes to cut the Rutgers lead to 14.
"Until we get better, and this is every single one of us, until we get better and value the basketball every single possession, this is going to continue to happen. This is a game where we feel like if we took care of the basketball, we could have won this game. I'm hoping it burns inside them and they start valuing the basketball."
The Owls will be off for a week before returning to action on the road at Bowling Green on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7:00 p.m.